Arabic Percussion


Karsilama is a dance practiced in Turkey, Greece, and the Balkan countries. The name comes from the Turkish language meaning “face to face greeting”. Karsilamas are played in different moods, styles and tempos.

The Karsilama Rhythm

The time signature  is 9/8, but can be interpreted in various ways. Some people count 2,2,2,3. Another way is to think of 2 times 123. One time slow (fourth notes) and one time fast (eighth notes).

This is the basic theme. The first bar is counting with double 123. The second bar uses counting with 2,2,2,3. (The first three fourth notes are replaced with eighth notes and rests to illustrate the counting).

Karsilama - theme

The basic rhythm on darbouka is played as following:

Karsilama - basic

When we replace the left hand kas (eighth notes) with two sixteenth notes, we have a very common karsilama rhythm:

Karsilama - filled

Listen to…

Selim Sesler & Brenna MacCrimmon - KarsilamaSelim Sesler & Brenna MacCrimmon – Karsilama

As expected this CD is packed with karsilamas :) Listen to this very beautiful song “zapejala angelina”.

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Greek woman dancing this marvelous karsilama. (note: at 1:52 the rhythm changes to a 7/8)

Also, look for…

Rompi Rompi, of Rampi Rampi, a famous Karsilama with both Greek and Turkish roots.

Posted on January 12th, 2011 by Rode Biet

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